19 August 2022

(A) The Biblical Worldview

All genuine Christians should have a biblical worldview. Our worldview, in short, is our way of looking at life, our interpretation of the universe, our orientation to reality – it is the comprehensive framework of our basic beliefs upon which all our everyday thinking and doing depend on.

The exposition of the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, by J. Edwin Hartill illustrates clearly the core of the biblical worldview:

For God – the greatest lover
So loved – the greatest degree
The world – the greatest company
That He gave – the greatest act
His only begotten Son – the greatest gift
That whosoever – the greatest opportunity
Believeth – the greatest simplicity
In Him – the greatest attraction
Should not perish – the greatest promise
But – the greatest difference
Have – the greatest certainty
Everlasting life – the greatest possession.

Unfortunately, it is somewhat doubtful whether most Christians have any very clear understanding of the worldview that belongs to them by the grace of God. Time and time again, to our dismay, we are told that Christians live basically the same way that everyone else lives. We have roughly the same incidence of domestic violence, the same rate of divorce, the same selfish patterns of spending, and the same addictive behaviours as the general population – this is much more so in apparently developed countries.

There was a comment in a ministry newsletter for Christian men in the United States not too long ago: “For every ten men in your church, nine will have kids who leave the church, eight will not find their jobs satisfactory, six pay the monthly minimum on their credit card balances, five have a major problem with pornography, four will get divorced, and only one has a biblical worldview” – a sad and sober comment indeed!
We do not fully grasp the Bible-based, Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, God-glorifying perspective that belongs to us by grace – which is why we need to learn how to live the right worldview.

Hearken to what Apostle Paul wrote: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Paul’s use of the more mundane and everyday topics of eating and drinking – along with the comprehensive ‘whatever you do’ – reminds us that absolutely all of life is from God. This means that all of life belongs to God and all of life is about bringing glory to God.
We need to prayerfully consider whether what we say or do are consistent with our biblical worldview – this is part and parcel of sharing and transmitting the gospel in our lives. In one sense, we need to evaluate whether various ones can see and conclude that we have been with Jesus and that we are His disciples.

(B) Differing Worldviews

We need to know that in the age we are living in, there are many different worldviews and we need to know how they differ from the biblical worldview, if we seek to ensure that we are living according to what God desires of us. We must also be keenly aware that behind these different worldviews is the manipulation and deceptions of the evil one and his influence on people of the world. When we try to correct these wrong worldviews, we must realise that it is not just a matter of explanation or ‘confrontation’; unless the Spirit of God intervene and ‘open the spiritual eyes’ of those who are spiritually blind, we may end up causing these various ones to be more antagonistic and ‘closed’ to the gospel truth (Eph. 4:17-19).

From ancient Greek and Roman times to the recent era, people have spoken and written openly of virtues versus vices. Although the virtues and vices listed then were not identical to those listed in the New Testament, something was held in common by which all people everywhere at all times would judge good and evil. However, today, the term ‘values’ has replaced the term ‘virtues’ – it is a massive worldview change.
Anyone’s values are as good as anyone else’s, and everyone has a right to his or her own values. This shift from virtues to values represents the true moral revolution of our time.
To sin is no longer defined as a violation of an inflexible moral standard outside ourselves, whether received as revealed by God or acknowledged by people who know right from wrong because they are made in the image of God, and have a conscience. Sin is now defined as “being out of alignment with my values,” self-derived values, reflecting one’s own preferences.

The substitution of ‘values’ for ‘virtues’ is so deeply embedded in our vocabulary and sensibilities that intolerance itself is viewed (even by some who profess to be Christians) as a greater sin than many other moral failures.
Now, to express convictions is judged as the sure indication of arrogance; to express uncertainty of convictions is deemed as a measure of humility – this is the view of those whose worldviews are contrary to biblical worldview.
When Christians raise arguments against various ideas, beliefs, customs, and practices, they are labeled arrogant. Such a charge is designed to shut down the voice of opposition, to suppress the words of reason and of truth.
But Scripture does not teach that humility is stating one’s beliefs with uncertainty and that arrogance is holding firm convictions or expressing them with confidence.

Culture replaces universal virtues with individualised values and makes uncertainty the most prized form of humility. Tolerance toward people with whom we disagree has been replaced in the public square with tolerance for ideas, except for the idea of absolute truth. Hence such individuals view anyone who does not tolerate ideas and beliefs that formerly were universally condemned stands condemned as intolerant. Everyone who lives a godly life in Christ Jesus will inevitably encounter such a situation if they seek to share their biblical worldview.

No doubt we must be willing to endure inconveniences and even hostilities for the sake of Christ and the gospel. But we need to be wise and discerning – for confrontation in such a context may end up ‘stumbling’ those who do not, and cannot, hold the same understanding as we do. The Lord Jesus, while He was on earth, demonstrated such a discernment in His interaction with the Samaritan woman, with Zaccheus, the tax-collector, and with many others who were touched by His love and wisdom. He did not compromise the ways and teachings of God, and yet He was able to bring them back to God. It is clear that the Son of God was fully pleasing to the Father, and He depended fully on the Holy Spirit from His incarnation until He fulfilled His mission on the cross. In this, He provides for us a wonderful example and a path to follow.

Sharing the gospel is spiritual warfare – let us not think that our enemy would let go so easily. Standing for our convictions may be needful, but there may be times when we need to ‘withdraw’ and wait on God for an opportune time and the enabling of the Spirit. Various ones may disagree with you but they may still maintain ‘respect’ for you, because you have spoken and responded in a way pleasing to God and our Master.